Does Diet Really Affect Acne?
You may have heard that going on a sugar binge will give you pimples, or that you can’t eat chocolate if you have acne-prone skin. Is there any truth to these tricks? As it turns out, more research continues to point to a link between certain foods and acne. Read on for more information on the latest findings.
Sugar and Acne
Many studies have demonstrated a link between high sugar consumption and a variety of adverse skin conditions, including acne and wrinkles. Researchers have found that in areas of the world where people eat very low-glycemic-index (low-sugar) diets, acne is almost nonexistent. Conversely, very high-glycemic-index Western diets have been linked with a much higher prevalence of acne. Keep in mind that you don’t need to necessarily eat lots of sweets to eat a high-glycemic-index diet. Simple carbohydrates like white bread, potato chips, and white potatoes are also considered high-GI foods.
Does Chocolate Cause Acne?
Some people report that eating chocolate makes their breakouts worse. However, studies have found little evidence to support a direct link between chocolate and acne, particularly because it is difficult to isolate the various ingredients that are combined to make chocolate.
Because milk chocolate contains a much higher percentage of sugar and dairy than dark chocolate, it is possible that eating large quantities of milk chocolate could aggravate acne. On the other hand, dark chocolate with high percentages of cacao may provide a number of benefits to your skin and overall health, since cacao is a strong anti-inflammatory ingredient with a high concentration of antioxidants.
Dairy and Acne
It has long been debated whether or not dairy contributes to acne breakouts. However, a recent 2018 study found that any amount of dairy intake in individuals ages 7 to 30 increased the prevalence of acne, compared to individuals in the same age group who consumed no dairy.
Interestingly, consumption of full-fat and whole milk demonstrated a higher odds ratio of acne, compared to consumption of low-fat and skim milk. This may be because individuals tend to consume less high-fat milk compared to low-fat milk. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, certain growth factors and hormones found in skim milk in particular may also be a factor in its connection to an increased acne risk.
Supplements and Acne
There is some evidence that taking certain vitamins and supplements may also hurt or help acne. Vitamins B6 and B12 in particular have been linked with a higher concentration of acne-causing bacteria on the skin. However, it does not appear that eating foods rich in these vitamins has the same effect. More research is needed to learn more about how and why these supplements could contribute to acne, but if you’re struggling to get clear skin, try eliminating B supplements from your routine to see if your skin clears up. It could take about one month to start noticing changes to your skin.
On the other hand, vitamin A might help to prevent acne, since Retin A and Accutane and other acne medications contain vitamin A as the active ingredient. Foods that are rich in vitamin A include carrots, sweet potatoes, salmon, spinach, and swiss chard.
If you are struggling to get and maintain clear, pimple-free skin, making a few changes to your diet might help. Try to limit your sugar, simple carbohydrate, and dairy intake and see if it makes a difference in your complexion.
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